Navigating multiple sources of healing in the context of HIV/AIDS and wide availability of antiretroviral treatment: a qualitative study of community participants’ perceptions and experiences in rural South Africa

Zuma, T., Wight, D. , Rochat, T. and Moshabela, M. (2018) Navigating multiple sources of healing in the context of HIV/AIDS and wide availability of antiretroviral treatment: a qualitative study of community participants’ perceptions and experiences in rural South Africa. Frontiers in Public Health, 6, 73. (doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2018.00073) (PMID:29594094) (PMCID:PMC5857548)

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Abstract

Background: South Africa introduced the world’s largest antiretroviral treatment (ART) program in 2004 and since 2016 the Department of Health implemented a universal Treatment as Prevention (TasP) strategy. However, some studies have shown that increasing the availability of ART is insufficient for the comprehensive treatment of HIV, since many people still use traditional health practitioners (THPs) to avoid being identified as HIV positive, and for reasons unrelated to HIV/AIDS. This qualitative study explored the factors influencing how both HIV-negative and HIV-positive people choose amongst multiple sources of healing and how they engage with them, in the context of HIV/AIDS and wide availability of ART. Methods: Data were collected as part of a larger TasP trial at the Africa Health Research Institute, KwaZulu-Natal. Repeat in-depth individual interviews were conducted with 10 participants. Repeat group discussions were conducted with 42 participants. Group discussion data were triangulated using community walks and photo-voice techniques to give more insight into the perceptions of community members. All data were collected over 18 months. Thematic analysis was used to analyze participants’ narratives from both individual interviews and group discussions. Findings: In the context of HIV/AIDS and wide availability of ART, use of biomedical and traditional healing systems seemed to be common in this locality. People used THPs to meet family expectations, particularly those of authoritative heads of households such as parents or grandparents. Most participants believed that THPs could address specific types of illnesses, especially those understood to be spiritually caused and which could not be addressed or cured by biomedical practitioners. However, it was not easy for participants to separate some spiritually caused illnesses from biological illnesses in the context of HIV/AIDS. These data demonstrate that in this context, the use of THPs continues regardless of the wide availability of ART. To meet the health care needs of those patients requiring a health care system which combines biomedical and traditional approaches, collaboration and integration of biomedical and traditional health care should be considered.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Wight, Professor Danny
Authors: Zuma, T., Wight, D., Rochat, T., and Moshabela, M.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > MRC/CSO SPHSU
Journal Name:Frontiers in Public Health
Publisher:Frontiers Media
ISSN:2296-2565
ISSN (Online):2296-2565
Published Online:12 March 2018
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2018 The Authors
First Published:First published in Frontiers in Public Health 6:73
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
727661SPHSU Core Renewal: Complexity in Health Improvement Research ProgrammeLaurence MooreMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_12017/14IHW - MRC/CSO SPHU